Taliban elements launched a lengthy, coordinated attack
against civilians and government buildings in Kabul on Monday. Militants associated with the Taliban have typically sought out
military targets, especially in the country's more rural southern
districts. Monday's attack, which included two suicide bombers, may
indicate the emergence of Taliban elements more interested in
terrorism than governance.
- Message: We Can Still Hurt Kabul The New York Times's Dexter Filkins reads
the attacks as a message from the Taliban that it can still disrupt the
Afghan government. "[I]ncreasingly the Taliban are bringing the fight
into the cities, further demoralizing Afghans and lending to the
impression that virtually no part of the country is safe from the
group's penetration. The Monday attack seemed intended to strike fear
into the usually quiet precincts of downtown Kabul — and to drive home
the ease with which insurgents could strike the United States-backed
- Good News: Afghans Defend The Economist finds
good news in the defense mounted by Afghan security forces. Afghan
President Hamid "Karzai can feel some pride in the performance of the
police, army and various counter-terror units. [...] A few soldiers
from NATO did join in the fray, but the bulk of the response was local
because Afghan forces now have direct responsibility for guarding the
capital." They write that"limiting the impact of the militants may be
the best that Mr Karzai can hope to achieve."
- Rise of Haqqani Dawn, a prominent Pakistani newspaper, worries
about the Haqqani network, an especially violent Taliban faction based
in Pakistan, and suspects this group may be responsible for the Monday
attacks. The group has increasingly close ties with al-Qaeda.
- Taliban Moderate Outreach The New York Times's Alissa Rubin finds
that, as the Haqqani Taliban becomes more extreme, the "mainstream"
Taliban elemtns headed by Mullah Muhammed Omar, go in the opposite
direction. Terrorism has turned many Afghans against the Taliban, a
shift that Omar, who wants the Taliban to return to its former role as
the official Afghan government, is seeking to counter. That means Omar
is issuing Taliban code-of-conduct rules "to soften their image and win
favor" with civilians. "The dictates include bans on suicide bombings
against civilians, burning down schools, or cutting off ears, lips and
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.